Hinchingbrooke Hospital under fire from another family

ANOTHER family who say they had to watch their loved one die in agony following bowel surgery at Hinchingbrooke Hospital have come forward to complain about the standard of care.

Elizabeth Sherrill is calling for the independent external review of colorectal surgery at Hinchingbrooke announced last week to include her father’s case.

Alexander Gleave died on June 28 last year, aged 87, from an infection contracted after faecal matter leaked into his system following an operation to remove an obstruction of the colon.

An inquest conducted into Mr Gleave’s death in November recorded a verdict he died from a recognised complication following surgical intervention, but Mrs Sherrill says there are still questions unanswered.

Mr Gleave, of Brampton, who had undergone surgery for bowel cancer in 2005, began suffering stomach pains in May last year and visited the hospital six times before doctors decided to operate.

Mrs Sherrill, who lives in Texas, flew over to be with him a week after his operation and said he was in intense pain. “I went straight from the airport to the hospital, and my dad was being sick. I had to keep going and getting small cups.

“His hands were bruised with IVs from where they were feeding him.

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“The doctor said he thought it was an infection, which is not uncommon. They were going to treat it with antibiotics, and they put drains in to see how that was going.

“They refused to go back in to correct the procedure.

“They were just putting a plaster on it and trying to fool us.”

Mrs Sherrill said her father’s condition continued to deteriorate and five days after she arrived, he passed away.

“When he died his arms were swollen with infection. It is a year now and I have not reached closure. I know my dad was in his 80s, but he was fine before he went in.

“I was over for three weeks in April and he was fine. He had come back the summer before to the States with us.

“Whatever happened at Hinchingbrooke cut his life short.

“We still do not know the truth of what happened.”

Bowel cancer surgery has been transferred to Addenbrooke’s and Hinchingbrooke has agreed to set up a review of its colorectal practice following a withering report by two Cambridgeshire coroners.

Dr Sam Bass recorded on June 30 that the death of Huntingdon woman Patricia Spooner, 67, was as a result of gross systems neglect by Hinchingbrooke.

Mrs Spooner, of Bassenthwaite, died of multi-organ failure after waiting more than two months for an operation for a bowel condition.

Last month, Dr David Morris recorded that 51-year-old Jayne Smith, from Somersham, had died from a rare but recognised complication that was not addressed in a timely manner.

Dr Richard Dickinson, medical director for Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust said: “On behalf of the trust I would wish to extend our condolences to the family of Mr Gleave.

“The trust has commissioned The Royal College of Surgeons to undertake an independent service review into our colorectal services.

“This independent external review will be wide ranging and will include a review of all relevant documentation, which is envisaged will include inquests and serious incidents.”